Schleigho

Farewell to the Sun

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    4
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AllMusic Review by

Schleigho bill themselves as "music for the minded." While it is true that their sound may require or at least benefit from a knowledge of music and an open mind, their basic setup and freewheeling style make for a pleasant adventure for anyone. Instrumentally, there is nothing greatly out of the ordinary on this release. As J. Jesse Gibbon backs and leads on the popular Hammond and Rhodes keyboards, Suke Cerulo adds crunchy and sharp guitar lines (and the occasional, perhaps novel flute), while bassist Drew J. McCabe and drummer Erik Egol provide a solid, varied rhythm base. Though the band members meander through their solos, their travels are intriguing and, when it is time to hit the mark and regroup for a return to theme, all four hit it solidly. The lyrical interludes are a bit suffocated, nonsensical and perhaps extraneous at times, but add to the spice and clever fun of the album. While the opening "D-Funk" exhibits competent syncopation in instrument and vocal, the title track highlights the band's versatility through its sharp tempo changes and open jams straight out of the parish of St. Alphonzo. "43," the album's shortest track (weighing in at just over seven minutes), is a percussion-driven string-slap mixed with swirling keyboards. "Tongues of the Homogenized" may be the most straight jazz offering, with its steady bass and drum backing and easy-going strings, keys, and lyrics, but between verses it too gets a bit adventurous, building to a strong and well-defined closing. Perhaps the album's most melodic piece is "Shine Blue," which features mellow instrumentation (marked by Cerulo's guitar and flute solos) complemented and accentuated by straining vocals and a precisely-paced conclusion. The last song, "50% of the Battle," also features pleasantly hopeful (and meaningful) vocals, yet it both opens and closes with segments which, though poetic, may not fit the track, but which still manage to complement the album. Hearkening back to the timely Star Wars theme of the instrumental "Trash Compactor Phobia" (a mix of organ supernovas, laser blast guitar strikes and droid-ish keyboard gibberish) guest artist Dub-One opens "50%" with a comprehensive "Star Wars" rap which includes such lines as "I got Yoda in my shoulda'-holda'!" and "Chewie, pass the...weed as I...jump to light speed." After the musical offering has concluded, Marc Jaffe winds up the album with a beatnik tale of Charles Mingus at the Jazz Workshop in San Francisco. The folks discussed in this closing treat might be the same hip types who might most appreciate Schleigho, but there's probably room for most of us in their beat club.